The fourth set of questions the Tribune asked the candidates running in the provincial election is about their stance on health care, environment, fisheries and jobs:
What would your government do to improve access to health care in B.C.?
Answers are as follows:
Bob Simpson, Independent (incumbent), Cariboo North
The entire health care system is administratively top heavy.
This has taken financial and human resources away from front-line patient care and centralized it in the larger urban centres.
This trend must be reversed before any new money is put into the system.
We also need to transition the system toward supporting healthy lifestyles and prevention and away from its current acute care focus.
A prevention focus will ultimately result in significant cost savings and better quality acute care. Ultimately rural BC will never have access to the full range of health services in smaller communities — that’s simply an unrealistic expectation.
Therefore, we need to ensure that the BC Ambulance service and 911 are as robust as they can be using the best available technology.
We also need greater supporters for patients and families that must travel and live away from home during extended illness or treatments.
Duncan Barnett, New Democratic Party, Cariboo North
Our healthcare system has suffered under the B.C. Liberals, particularly in rural communities like ours in the Cariboo.
That’s why the NDP will invest $45 million to rebuild services in rural hospitals and clinics that have deteriorated over the last 12 years.
Health care — particularly for seniors — is one of the top issues that I have been hearing about during the campaign.
People believe that the government needs to invest in health and seniors care.
It is the right thing to do, and we can do better.
Investing in seniors care is a cost-effective way to reduce demand on our health system and improve the lives of seniors.
New Democrats will invest $70 million in home support and long-term care for seniors.
We will also put $35 million towards improving the quality of long-term care.
Coralee Oakes, Liberal Party, Cariboo North
Our $8-billion investment in health capital includes new hospitals and new hospital towers all across the province.
We are making investments in rural emergency rooms, including dedicated funding to both Cariboo Memorial Hospital and Health Centre and GR Baker Memorial Hospital for rural, fee-for-service physicians who commit to ensure reliable public access to emergency services is maintained at the local hospitals.
We have a comprehensive set of incentive programs to encourage physicians to practice in rural B.C. and increased the number of seats in doctor’s programs at our universities.
Health costs increase faster than in any other area of government. The solution is not to stop investing, which is what the NDP did the last time it was in government by ignoring the need for thousands of new long-term care beds. Projects worth a further $2.3 billion will be built over the next three years. B.C. now has 31,300 publicly subsidized residential care, assisted living and group home beds. That is a 23 per cent increase since 2001 (approximately 6,000 new beds).
We are also working to find ways to support our aging demographic and looking at how we can support our seniors to live healthy and longer in their own homes with programs such as Better At Home.